Sunday, 24 March 2019

This Week - 24/03/2019

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations

The main things this week were learning communities committee and Marianna getting chicken pox. Luckily it doesn't seem to be a particularly bad case, but it's still going to mean a few more days of nursery.

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Friday, 22 March 2019


We've been watching lots of Poirot lately and every episode has only convinced me further that the guy has it bad for Hastings. Really bad. I mean, just look at these moments:

Poirot pushes his luck a little but most of the time he falls short of being too blatant. What if it scares Hastings off completely? What if he's only seeing what he wants to see in Hastings' reactions?

Hastings is actually besotted, of course. Just look at that moustache fixation going on.

Poirot has definitely dealt with a blackmailer or two because of displays like this. The solution to Curtain was the dumbest thing ever, so my fix-it headcanon is that Poirot did it all to protect Hastings' reputation in the eyes of his (completely ungrateful) children. (And his final thoughts were definitely a mixture of regret/wishful wondering what would have happened if he hadn't fetched Bella Duveen in Murder on the Links...)

They are such an old married couple, with everything from the bickering to Hastings sneakily (if ineptly) hiding his golf / motoring / sporting intentions on every trip they take together.

The domesticity! This is such an adorable scene - Poirot keeps handing back the plate for Hastings to wash again and again without a word or Hastings noticing until it meets his exacting standards. The ABC Murders is so so shippy in general. Poirot's delight when he meets Hastings off the train! His insistence Hastings stay with him! His complete change of attitude to Cedric the stuffed caiman when Hastings tells him it's a gift he brought back especially for Poirot! :D

"Hastings, you forgot your crocodile. I prefer that his strange smell content itself with your room."
"He was a present for you."
"For me, Hastings? - What a lovely thing!"
"If you don't like -"
"No, Hastings! It gives an air I do not know of what, do not you find?"
"The embalmer said that the smell would disappear after a month or so."
"No, I like the smell! *deep sniff* It brings the jungle to London."

Poirot might wear Countess Rossakoff's lapel pin, but Hastings totally provides the flowers...

Hand touching! I kind of like the idea it's why Poirot becomes such a softie whenever it comes to couples in love as he gets older; he's thinking about what could have been with Hastings. (Or maybe what was, I could be convinced either way.)

Uniforms. <3

I love mortuus_lingua's Angel on AO3 an unreasonable amount for a glimpse at policeman!Poirot: 

Several were not tall, or clearly Gallic in coloring, and then he landed on a figure with long crossed legs sitting on a bench, mostly obscured by the daily paper. A mere moment of observation rewarded him with a lowering of the paper in order to turn the page and Poirot felt his heart crash against his ribs and his breath leave him.

“Quel ange,” he murmured, swallowing.

Mademoiselle Maes had not exaggerated. If this was Arthur Hastings, he was young, and tall with long limbs and high cheekbones, with searing blue eyes and an earnest, friendly face carved in the long lines that Poirot recognized as distinctly as English of the Saxon descent. All he was missing was blond hair.

The man under observation paused and looked up from his reading, gazing straight at him and Poirot realized how his stare must be interpreted. The blue eyes took him in, dropping down the length of his uniform and back up again before lowering the paper entirely, folding it, and standing up.

“Mon dieu,” Poirot muttered to himself, but squared his shoulders and strode forward towards the tall Englishman. “Monsieur Hastings?” 

He took in the tailored gentleman’s suit, not particularly on the edge of fashion, but clean and pressed, the fabric a subtle brown tweed that flattered the man’s fair complexion and cerulean eyes. 

“Yes,” the angel said in crisp, educated English. “You are Inspector Poirot?” 

100% how that first meeting went. Obviously.

More uniforms.

Also, did you know that Hugh Fraser (Hastings) co-wrote the Rainbow theme tune? (The pic below is from c. winter 1972, Fraser's the one with the flute.) He truly is a God among men.

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This Month In Fandom

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Odd Socks for World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day

Today is World Down Syndrome Day and people all over the globe are wearing odd socks to raise awareness. This year's theme is 'leave no one behind'. In the words of the Down's Syndrome Association:

"All people with Down syndrome must have opportunities to live fulfilling lives, included on a full -and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society."

Down's Syndrome is caused by an extra copy - in full or part - of chromosome 21. About 40,000 people in the UK have Down's Syndrome, and around one in every thousand babies in the UK are born with the condition. Check out this infographic from Downs Side Up. :)

World Down Syndrome Day Infographic

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

10 Facts About Chickenpox

10 Facts About Chickenpox

Nursery - or 'germery' as it's more accurately known - has had an outbreak of chicken pox, so Marianna's at home scratching. I've had chickenpox and shingles already but, even so, all I'm doing is scratching alongside, like my skin remembers it or something!

Whatever the reason, it certainly calls for a listicle of ten things you might not know about chickenpox.

1. Chickenpox is an airborne virus, primarily spread via coughs and sneezes. But don't think you can escape it with a face mask - you can also get it by touching mucus, saliva, or fluid from the blister of an infected individual.

2. It's caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), otherwise known as human alphaherpesvirus 3 - one of the eight herpes viruses known to infect humans. After you recover the virus goes dormant... but in about 15% of people it reactivates in later life and causes shingles. An unlucky 5% of shingles sufferers will even go on to have it more than once.

3. Although it's usually a relatively mild childhood affliction, in some cases chickenpox can be fatal. In 2015 6,400 people died as a result, that's about 1 person for every 60,000 bouts of chickenpox contracted.

4. The virus is generally worse for adults than children, but it is most dangerous to pregnant women. Chickenpox contracted in the third trimester is linked to premature delivery, while catching it earlier on can cause malformation and brain damage in the fetus.

5. The first chickenpox vaccine was developed in the late 1960s by Dr. Michiaki Takahashi. He was inspired to look into a vaccine after his three-year-old son Teruyuki contracted a bad case of chickenpox in 1964. By 1972 it was in clinical trial, and was cleared for widespread use in 1974.

Chickenpox Infographic UK
Check out this awesome infographic in full at Alphega Pharmacy.

6. Some countries - Australia, Germany, Japan, USA, etc - now routinely vaccinate against it, usually by combining it into the MMR jab. Since the USA introduced the vaccine in 1995, cases of chickenpox there have fallen by 95%. In the UK only those who live or work in close quarters with people without a fully-working immune system are vaccinated on the grounds that, although it may reduce cases of childhood chicken pox, it could mean a rise in adult shingles which is both expensive to treat and horrid to have.

7. You can pay to have your children vaccinated privately however, and you can even get it done on the high street at some Superdrug health clinics. (Two doses at £65 a pop.)

8. For the rest of us the best treatment is calamine lotion which helps to soothe the skin. Other options include wearing mittens to stop yourself scratching, applying cold compresses soaked in chamomile tea, or taking in a bath in water mixed with baking soda or oatmeal. Modern medicine at its best!

9. Until the late 19th century it was thought that chickenpox was a milder form of the more serious smallpox, which in turn was so named to distinguish it from the 'greatpox' (syphilis).

10. Nobody seem to really know where the name chickenpox came from. Its first recorded use dates back to 1658 and Samuel Johnson, of A Dictionary of the English Language fame, suggested that it was because it was a mild (so chicken in the sense of cowardly) illness. Alternative theories include a corruption of itchingpox, or that chicken was used to mean child/children. Anthony told our own daughter it's because the spots are feathers sprouting where she will turn into a chicken. He will be the one footing the therapy bill...

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Family Life

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Jack the Ripper Reading List

Jack the Ripper Reading List

The post where I keep track of all the many (many) Ripper related books and articles I've read...



Jack the Ripper and the Myth of Male Violence (Feminist Studies, Vol. 8, No. 3) - Judith R. Walkowitz.
Really interesting article examining the shadow of the Ripper in defining the night as unsafe for women, and how the cases influenced patterns of contemporary male violence. Eg. magistrates dealing with cases of husbands threatening to 'whitechapel' their wives, and boys taunting girls that the Ripper would get them.


Optograms and Fiction: Photo in a Dead Man's Eye (Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3) - Arthur B. Evans.
Prevalence of the belief that images of a murderer are imprinted on the victim's retina.


St-i-i-i-ll Going... The Quest for Jack the Ripper (Social Text, No. 40) - Deborah Cameron.
Explanatory review of the Maybrick diary and complaints about the entire Ripper industry being 'as stomach turning as the original crimes'. Hmmm...


"Jonathan's Great Knife": "Dracula" Meets Jack the Ripper (Victorian Literature and Culture, vol. 30, no. 2) - Nicholas Rance.
Explores the influence of the Ripper cases on Stoker's Dracula. Also points out that Dracula was dedicated to Hall Caine, who had an affair with Francis Tumblety in the 1870s.


Optograms, Autobiography, and the Image of Jack the Ripper (Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, vol. 12, no. 1) - Craig Monk.
Short article on popular contemporary belief in the optogram (retinal photograph) as a means of uncovering murderers, and how it reflects the difficulty in pinning down objective fact in autobiography.


Murder in Black and White: Victorian Crime Scenes and the Ripper Photographs (Victorian Studies, vol. 56, no. 3) - Megha Anwer.
Contends that Victorian portraiture style of mortuary photograph resemble criminal mugshots, and so create that link in the viewer's mind. Not sure I agree really, esp. as a lot of true crime cases rely heavily on sanitised headshots of the corpse; think John/Jane Does, etc.


Jack the Poet: Was Francis Thompson Jack the Ripper? - Simon Webb.
Short read covering the whys and hows of his inclusion as a Ripper suspect. (Goodreads)

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Monday, 18 March 2019

1/6 Scale Helicopters

1/6 Scale Helicopters

The first practical helicopter  - the VS-300 - took to the skies in 1939. By 1944 helicopters were in mass production. Today they're used for all kinds of things from transport, to search and rescue, to fire fighting.

Here you'll find a guide to the 1/6 scale helicopters and pilots available over the years, from plastic playline right through to top of the range RC models.

Action Man Helicopter

Action Man

 1973 Turbo Copter.
 1974 Helicopter.
 1975 Helicopter Pilot.
 1977 Capture Copter.
 1977 Eagle Eyes Helicopter Pilot.
 1979 Helicopter Pilot.
 1981 Assault Copter.
 1981 Helicopter Pilot.
 1983 Assault Copter SAS Airstrike
 1983 Helicopter Pilot.
 1994 Helicopter Attack Set.
 1996 Helicopter Attack Set.
 1996 Heligun Maxicopter. (AKA Turbo-Copter)
 1998 Gyro Copter.
 1998 Helicopter Rescue.
 2000 Helicopter Rescue.
 2008 40th Anniversary Helicopter Pilot.

America's Finest Fire Rescue Helicopter

America's Finest

 Fire Rescue Helicopter.
 Fire Rescue Helicopter Pilot.

Barbie Travel Helicopter


 2018 Travel Helicopter.

G.I. Joe Helicopter

G.I. Joe

 1971 Search for the Stolen Idol.
 1972 Recovery of the Lost Mummy Adventure.
 1972 Turbo Coptor.
 1973 Adventure Team Helicopter.
 1973 Coptor Rescue.
 1975 Adventure Team Helicopter.
 1975 Capture Coptor.
 1976 Black Widow Rendezvous.
 1997 G.I. Jane US Army Helicopter Pilot. (AABlond; BrunetteGinger)



 Super cool range of cockpit accessories.

Power Team Elite

 World Peacekeepers Helicopter Commander (AA).
 World Peacekeepers Helicopter Commander (brunette).
 World Peacekeepers Helicopter Commander (blond).
 World Peacekeepers Helicopter Commander Uniform.
 World Peacekeepers Helicopter Pilot.

Starwood Scale Models

Starwood Scale Models

 AH-64D Apache Longbow.
 AH-1S Cobra Gas.
 AH-1S Cobra Turbine.
 Lynx AH Mk7.
 N-4 Dauphin.
 UH-1C Gas Huey.
 UH-1C Turbine Huey.

The Ultimate Soldier

 2000 Vietnam Air Cavalry Helicopter.
 Vietnam Air Cavalry Helicopter Pilot.
 2000 AH-6 Little Bird Helicopter. (Review at Toy Haven)
AH-6 Little Bird Night Stalker Helicopter.
 US Helicopter Pilot.

Vario Helicopter

Vario Helicopter

 Augusta 109 K2.
 MD 902 Explorer.
 Mil Mi-2.

Warbird Pilots

Warbird Pilots

Wide range of scale pilot figures, including some that can turn their head remotely for extra cool / creep factor!

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Scale Miniatures

Sunday, 17 March 2019

This Week - 17/03/2019

Š¯ealth is not valued until sickness comes.

Another week, another sickness bug. I guess my mum doesn't call nursery 'germery' for nothing, I'm forever falling ill during term time. :(

I blogged at the beginning of the week, with a guide to the 18 Inch Sindy dolls, reviewed Maverick Snacks, and a list of the Top Ten Ken Dolls for Ken Day, but I need to backdate a few posts still. I have been colouring in Marianna's eatsleepdoodle pillow though. It's very therapeutic!

Eat Sleep Doodle Butterfly Pillow

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